Clinton W. Parker papers  1917-1919
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The number of letters from friends, family members and business associates suggests that Clinton W. Parker corresponded with several people. Letters to his mother, Alma, were written at least once a week and comprise the bulk of the collection. A 12 page letter from Carroll, Clinton's brother, to his mother answers most of the questions and concerns about his well being and activities during the war (11/9/18).

The collection is a source of information of social and religious activities during the war. Clinton was a Christian Scientist and writes to his mother about his participation in services, his beliefs about illness and his attitudes developed based on these beliefs. The letters during the fall of 1918 when the camp was quarantined for the flu are particularly relevant. Letters from friends also include information about Christian Science activities.

Despite his duties at camp, Clinton maintained an active social life. His letters describe dinners, entertainment, and visits to several homes and hotels. He never tells his mother how he meets these associates or whether they are connected with his religious activities.

Camp life is another focus of the letters, however, the content consists mainly of his attitude about camp life rather than about the training. Opinions are guarded until the war ends and threats of censorship are decreased. Letters during the early fall describe the plans for building in the camp as it is being prepared to be a permanent military installation. His promotions are also a topic of his letters. His final promotion to Regimental Sergeant Major is a source of pride. Following this promotion Clinton received congratulations from a friend, "You sure deserved it and when a white man came in you got it" (1/10/19).

Clinton also corresponds with the officers of the Dime Savings Bank, where he worked before and after the war. The letters inform the bank about his status and finally request assistance for help in being released from the army (1/21/19).

A number of documents and memos from the army are included. The earliest dated document in the collection is a "Pledge of Loyalty" to the United States signed by Clinton and several other men. Other documents include notices from the Local Board informing him of his status, rosters of the men at Camp Hancock, a memo about the rumors of peace, and instructions for obtaining travel allowances for discharged men.

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